Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pastel Portrait

Pastel, 12x14, Portrait Woman looking Right with Blue Eyes, Unsigned by Dick Burg, circa mid 50's, Courtesy of Peter Burg.

Bunker Hill Brownstone

A fine example of pallet knife and brush work. This is part of Dick’s Bunker Hill series, documentation of historical architecture of downtown Los Angeles.

Untitled, Brownstone with Red Chimney, 24x36, Oil on Canvas, Signed by Dick Burg, Signed BURG on Verso, Framed, Courtesy of Peter Burg.

Forty Years of Marriage

Dick and Betty were married forty years.

Richard O. Burg and Sophia Elisabeth Gross Wedding 1938

Dick and Betty 1975

Alice’s Restaurant

This view is on the Malibu Pier looking towards the Pacific Coast Highway. Alice’s was a popular restaurant located at the entrance to the pier. Don’t you just love the “Jack in the Box” in the back? Malibu is a legendary surf spot. If you were to shoot the pier, this was the pier!

#43 Alice’s Restaurant, 24x30, Oil on Gesso Masonite, Framed, Signed by Dick Burg, Courtesy of Melissa Burg Adkison

Diversity of the Human Form

Early work demonstrating the diversity of the human form.

Nude Study, Blue Seat, 24x30, Oil on canvas-Masonite, Unframed, Unsigned by Dick Burg, Courtesy of Peter Burg

Charcoal, Large Standing Woman ,18x24, Unsigned by Dick Burg, circa mid 50's, Courtesy of Peter Burg

Charcoal, Standing Woman looking Left ,18x24, Unsigned by Dick Burg, circa mid 50's, Courtesy of Peter Burg.

Early Portrait Studies

These early portrait studies are indicative of the artist’s struggle to “get it right”. Dick would return to portraiture time and time again.

Untitled, Side Portrait, Red Haired Woman, 12x16, Oil on Canvas Panel, Unframed, Signed by Burg, Courtesy of Peter Burg.

Charcoal, Woman Looking to Right,18x24, Signed by Dick Burg, circa mid 50's, Courtesy of Peter Burg.

Charcoal, Woman Looking to Right,18x24, Unsigned by Dick Burg, circa mid 50's, Courtesy of Peter Burg.

Dock Scene

This dock scene appeared in Dick’s brochure and is reminiscent of many San Pedro harbor scenes. The distinctive Dick Burg Dots are apparent on the shore and structures roof. There is a wonderful lazy treatment in the water’s reflection of the boat

Hollywood Connection

I remember feeling very privileged when I was young that my father worked for Hallmark. It meant that we could go into Hollywood and attend the Hallmark Radio Show. I remember going to see a rendition of Song of the South with Luanne Patton and Bobby Driscoll. We stood outside afterward and got to meet them and get their autograph.

Photo of Unknown Man, Marie Willson, Patty Burg, and Betty Burg at Margaret Corley's House in Hollywood, 1950.

Hallmark was moving toward television, especially color television, and we were invited to view a production of Macbeth. It wasn't a live stage play. It was better than that, so to speak. It was a production of Hallmark Hall of Fame done for TV in color. We saw it at a Studio because of course very few people even had color television. I think this is how my dad became involved with movie studios, particularly the Hal Roach Studio, located at the corner of Washington and National in Culver City. There was some connection to Hallmark.
We got to visit the studio, occasionally, where they were filming some of the early sitcoms. I remember meeting Gale Storm on one of those visits and stopping to talk to her. Josephine Owaissa Cottle (April 5, 1922 - June 27, 2009), better known as Gale Storm, was an American actress and singer, who starred in two popular television programs of the 1950s, My Little Margie and The Gale Storm Show. I also spent the afternoon with Marie Wilson (Katherine Elisabeth Wilson, August 19, 1916–November 23, 1972, an American radio, film, and television actress.) from My Friend Irma who was filming at the Hal Roach Studio lot. That came about when she was invited to swim in my Aunt Margaret Corley's (not really an aunt just a good friend of my parents) swimming pool. Margaret was dating a fellow who was a bit-part actor and he brought Marie Wilson along to swim. We got to come and meet them. - Pat Hughes

The Hallmark /Hollywood connection just opened a door to material my father would later use in some of his paintings. He was able to freely peruse the back lots of the studio sets were he found the old buildings that he would later lovingly incorporate.

#206 Early Study, 16X20, Oil on Masonite, Unframed Unsigned by Dick Burg Courtesy of Peter Burg.

Study, Back Lot, 20x24, Pallet Knife and Brush,Oil on Canvas, Unsigned By Dick Burg, Coutesy of Peter Burg.jpg

Untitled, Western Town with Hay Wagon, Oil on Canvas Panel, Framed, Signed Burg, Coutesy of Peter Burg.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Portrait, Woman Looking Left

Out of the hundreds of drawings, sketchs and studies done by Dick only a handful have survived the ravages of time.
Charcoal, Portrait, Woman Looking Left ,18x24, Unsigned by Dick Burg, circa mid 50's, Courtesy of Peter Burg

Man and a Mustache.

A rare photograph of Dick sporting a mustache. Here he is with either Bob Chaudoin or Gene Smith from Hallmark. Dick grew the mustache during a painting trip that I accompanied him on through norther California in my 1971 VW Camper.

Masterful Portrait in Pastel

With the proximity to movie studios in Studio City and Hollywood and a plethora of models available one of this caliber was bound to appear. I think we all called him “Wild Bill”. Dick definitely caught a worldliness of experience in this gents eyes.

Pastel, Portrait of Man with Beard, 12x16, Framed, Unsigned by Dick Burg, Courtesy of Peter Burg.


The serenity of blue-greens of this small painting are quite evident. An experiment in atmosphere of water and verdant foliage.

Untitled, Waterscape, 12x16, Oil on Canvas, Framed, Unsigned by Dick Burg, Courtesy of Peter Burg.

House Along Road

This painting appeared in one of Dick’s brochures. One of his favorite subjects, old houses, is again explored. There are many paintings that were sold during his career and the whereabouts of them are unknown. It will be interesting when and if they surface to be documented here in their full splendid color.


A story of a rural mountain American community. Helping hands and long distances between towns force dependence on one another. A good story can make a piece of artwork and Dick was certainly aware of the value of storytelling.

#51 I Belong To The Lady In The Red House, O., 20x30, Oil on Canvas Masonite, Framed, Signed by Dick Burg, Courtesy of Pat Hughes.

Seated Woman with Blue Bucket

A brutal portrayal of humane labor. This woman is in throes of exhaustion or disgust with the drudgery of toiling. Her poverty is evident but one can see a strength exude from her massive hands and legs.

Untitled, Seated Woman with Blue Bucket, 24x30, Oil on Canvas, Framed, Signed Burg on back of canvas, Courtesy of Pat Hughes.


There are many painting with roads in them. Are they a function of story? Are they analogies for searching, loneliness, abandonment, the future or mans ever invasive presence on this land? Or are they simply vehicles for composition?

Untitled, 12x16, Oil on Canvas Panel, Framed, Unsigned by Dick Burg, Courtesy of Peter Burg.

Alert Eye Of The Artist

Another sketch of the southern California coastline with its idealized palm trees, point breaks, sailboats, surfers, sunbathers, motorboat, and ever encroaching urban development. This was lodged in a art study book of Dick’s along with several others dating from the early sixties. The ever alert eye of the artist at work.

Coast Drawing on Paper, 8 ½ x11, by Dick Burg. Courtesy of Peter Burg.

Materials and Media

This is the only pastel done on felt that I have found. An exercise in materials and media.

Pastel on Felt, Reclining Nude, 20x26, Signed by Dick Burg circa mid 50's, Courtesy of Peter Burg.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Getting Feet Wet

In this very early watercolor, Dick was literally getting his feet wet. The composition is a little static. To be able to see where an artist has come from very telling.
Watercolor,Landscape,12x20, Signed by Burg, circa mid 50's Courtesy of Peter Burg.

Man with Beret

Pastel, Man with Beret, 10x16, Unsigned by Dick Burg, Courtesy of Peter Burg.

Related Blending

In this study, Dick works and blends yellows from the front of the outfit, into the face, at the chin and nose nicely.

Untitled, Portrait of Blond Woman, 20x24, Oil on Canvas Masonite, Unframed, Signed by Dick Burg, Courtesy of Peter Burg.

Complimentary Colors in the Shadow

This unfinished work utilizes complimentary colors in the shadow of the wine bottle.

Still Life, Bread and Blue Bottle, Oil on Masonite, Unsigned by Dick Burg, Courtesy of Peter Burg.

Church Gate, Southern Spain

There was a sticker on the back of this pastel that indicated it had been in the Eleventh All City Outdoor Art Festival. Whether it was in Los Angeles, Pasadena, or San Gabriel is unknown. This would be dated in the late fifties to early sixties.

Church Gate, Southern Spain, Label on reverse “Eleventh All City Outdoor Art Festival”.11x13, Pastel, Framed, Signed by Burg, Courtesy of Peter Burg.

Radical Portraits

For the most part Dick Burg was a conservative man. Rarely prone to extremes. His classification as far as style would be mostly realism and post-impressionism. That also would include stylized figure and a nostalgic interpretation regarding the architectural depiction of buildings such as barns and houses. The title, ”Twentieth Century California Painter focusing on composition and color theory would suit him well.
Here is one of the more radical portraits the I have come across.

Untitled Study of Boy with Small Head, 16x20, Oil on Canvas Masonite, Unframed, Unsigned by Dick Burg, Courtesy of Peter Burg

Comfort Zone of Technique

What is most distinctive in this portrait are the brush strokes. Harking back to an earlier age, Seurat used dabs of paint and Dick used bold dashes here, creating a unified texture that when view from a distance would blend and smooth out. An artist will experiment until he settles down into his “Comfort Zone of Technique”.

Nude Study, Pink Seat, 24x30, Oil on canvas-Masonite, Unframed, Unsigned by Dick Burg, Courtesy of Peter Burg.

Delicate Treatment To Hands

There is a charm to this standing nude. The delicate treatment Dick gives to the hands and arms lends an intimacy to the sketch.

Charcoal, Standing Woman, 24x36, Signed R. O. Burg, Circa mid 50’s, Courtesy of Peter Burg.

Ladue Shacks

I have to say, this one puzzles me. I’ve been to Ladue, a suburb of St Louis, and there are no shacks what so ever. You might say it is the Beverly Hills of St. Louis. I mean we are talking mansions, estates, grand colonial style gargantuan houses and lots the size of football fields. I am assuming Dick is trying to be humorous or he is giving us a sight of Ladue back when Martin Hanley arrived.
There are two qualities that make this a typical Dick Burg painting, the ”Dick Burg Dots” and the marine grays of the overcast sky.

#44 Ladue Shacks, 12x16, Acylic on Masonite, Framed, signed by Dick Burg, courtesy of Pat Hughes.

Lady with Flower in Hair

Pastel, Lady with Flower in Hair, 12x16, Unsigned by Burg, Courtesy of Peter Burg.


All Paintings have their birth somewhere. Here is a typical preliminary sketch, perhaps dealing with composition or just an idea for a painting. This sketch was found in one of Dick’s books of how to draw heads. I have matched it up with a finished painting in Dick’s more mature stage. They both deal with an inward center perspective with the main activity based in the center foreground.

Sketch by Dick Burg

#38, Resting Place, San Miguel De Allende, 20x24, Acrylic, on Masonite, Framed, Signed by Dick Burg, Courtesy of Peter Burg.

Rhythm in Art

What aspects of an artist come through their art? The portrait of this lady is awash in rhythm. My father grew up in roaring twenties and the swing era of the thirties and forties. He was a master of the Lindy Hop, a swing dance craze, whose name sake was Charles Lindbergh ,of The Spirit of St. Louis fame. In fact there is a Lindbergh Blvd that runs near Ladue. Dick loved to dance. He taught Patty and Laura how to dance. He enjoyed big band music and there was always dancing to the radio in the Northfield and Muskingum houses in Pacific Palisades.

My father was not a musician per se, but he could hold the loveliest of melodies you ever heard, by putting his lip together and whistling.

Pastel, Lady with Pony Tail, 16x20, Unsigned by Burg, Courtesy of Peter Burg.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Hanley House

Hanley House, 36x48, Oil on Canvas, Framed, Signed By Dick Burg, Courtesy of The City of Clayton, MO.

Squire Martin Hanley House, 7600 Westmoreland, was build in 1855. It is the oldest surviving structure and the only antebellum house remaining in the City of Clayton. The black oak that was in front of the house was known as “Lord Oak” by the family. It was about 300-years old. The tree has since been removed. Dick rearranged the composition to enhance the view of the house.

Hanley House Study, Richard O. Burg, 12x16, Oil on Masonite, Framed, Signed by Dick Burg, Courtesy of Pat Hughes

"The painting hung for years at the Clayton Club not the Missouri Athletic Club. The Clayton Club was a luncheon club basically for businessmen who worked in the Clayton area. It was located on the top floor of some office building in the city of Clayton. When the Clayton Club disbanded around 1990, my father retrieved the painting for our family. I think he either donated the painting to the Club or was responsible for the sale of the painting to the Club for your father. As I recall, the painting hung behind the bar at the Club. The original painting was a very severe stern looking Ralph Clayton, the namesake of the city and the Club. My father was a member of the Club and on the decorating committee. He said that he and other members did not like staring at this stern looking portrait while having a drink so my father convinced the Club to replace it with your dad's painting."
- As told by Bob Pommer

Finally it was donated to City of Clayton in July of 2010 by Bob Pommer and Peter Burg.

Hanley House as viewed in the early 1980's

Excerpt from letter to Dick Englesmann.
Cousin Bob Pommer and I took off for our 2:00 PM appointment with Sarah Umlauf, Community Resource Coordinator Parks & Recreation for the Center of Clayton, located at 50 Gay Ave. Sarah was impressed with the painting’s size and quality. She also liked the fact that my father took liberty in painting the house without the large black oak tree obstructing the view. She gave us her qualifications and background information and explained that the Hanley House only houses artifacts of the period pertaining to the Hanley family. This meant my father’s painting would not reside there. She further mentioned that the committee that would be considering accepting artworks was meeting that afternoon. She was confident that the Hanley House painting would be accepted and a great addition to the Saint Louis Artist’s Guild permanent collection. She assured us that the care of our item would be under strict museum quality control. In the end, the painting was donated and gratefully accepted. I took a quick digital picture and we exchanged all pertinent information regarding the artist and contact numbers and address for both Bob and I.

Historic Hanley House 2010 with Bob Pommer and Sarah Umlauf.

That being accomplished, Sarah invited us for a private tour of the Hanley House at 7600 Westmoreland Ave. Bob and I accidentally drove right past it because it is set back from the road and obscured by large black oak trees. I snapped a few candid shots of Bob and Sarah in the front yard. Apparently, descendents of Martin Franklin Hanley lived there until the 1950’s. The inside decor was typical of the mid 1800’s, tic bedding, coal fire place, painted pine floor, shot gun handy, portraits of family, etc… The kitchen was separate from the house for reasons of fire safety. This was also the quarters of the slave girl who cooked and maintained the house. Martin Hanley was a black smith by trade and a slave owner. He also constructed the Hanley road.

Bob and I thanked Sarah for the tour and looked forward to our future correspondence and we took leave. Our next stop was the Oak Knoll Estate which houses the Saint Louis Artist’s Guild and Galleries. It is a magnificent location with expansive grounds and majestic buildings…

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Warm Shadows

My sister Melissa has been very helpful in locating works and sent me this painting.

#37 Warm Shadows, Framed, Oil, 20x24 Dick Burg, Courtesy of Melissa Burg Adkison.

When I first viewed this unfinished work I wan not positive it was done by Dick. Then the above work surfaced and it was confirmed to be a study or demonstration work.
Study for Warm Shadows, 20x24, Oil on Canvas Masonite, Unframed, Unsigned by Dick Burg, Courtesy of Peter Burg.

Taxco Street Scene

The history on this is unclear. Dick gave this to me along with another Mexican scene. While looking through a group on charcoal and pastels I dicovered a similar work cut from its canvas frame below.

Untitled, Taxco Street Scene, Oil on Canvas, 24x30, Framed, Signed Dick Burg. Courtesy of Peter Burg

Early Beginings

Here are just a portion of the books that Dick had in his art library. The others were distributed amongst his children.

An Age of Barns by Eric Sloane, published 1967. You can tell what pages he was interested in by the smudges of paint. Dick was impressed enough with Mr. Sloane to cut out, and keep in the book, the notice of the artist’s death, from the Los Angeles Times.

The Barn, A Vanishing Landmark in North America, by Eric Arthur and Dudley Witney, published 1972. Dick used strips of his Hallmark stationary to mark specific pages of interest.

Painting Cityscapes by Ralph Fabri.
How To Paint With A Knife by Coulton Waugh, published in 1971

The Complete Oil Painter by F. C. Johnston, published 1979
My Kind of Painting by Douglas Badcock, published 1978. There is some evidence that Dick may have gone to a show of Badcock’s at Challis Galleries in Laguna Beach, California, August of 1981.
Painting The Female Figure by Wallace Bassford, published 1967
Painting in Opaque Watercolor by Rudy De Reyna, published 1969
The Sea In Action by Earl Daniel’s, published by Walter T. Foster
How To Draw The Head, by Walter T. Foster
Norman Rockwell, Artist and Illustrator, published 1970 Abrams

Dick studied and copied out of Painting Sea and Shore, A Complete Guide to the Technique of Marine Painting in Oils by Harry R. Ballinger published in 1966. This tradition go back to the renaissance and of the thousands who copied the masters from the grand museums such as the Louvre in France.

Study, 20x24 oil on canvas. by Dick Burg, of a view of New York Harbor, by Harry R. Ballinger

Study, Oil on masonite, 18x24 By Dick Burg, of a practice subject by Harry R. Ballinger.

Study, Oil on Canvas by Dick Burg, of Tranquil Harbor by Harry R. Ballinger.

Study, Oil on Canvas, 12x20 by Dick Burg, of Moonlight by Harry R. Ballinger